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Throwback Thursday: NES Zapper

Updated 4 years ago

Ah yes, the NES Zapper. Your weapon of choice for eradicating ducks, clay discs, criminals, cowboys, and just boring old targets.

The NES Zapper made is North American debut in October of 1985 when it was bundled with the Nintendo Entertainment System and a now infamous game, Duck Hunt. The technology behind the Zapper is painfully simple, although I remember it feeling like science fiction in 1985. When the trigger of the Zapper was pulled it would cause the entire screen of the game being played to go black for one frame. The subsequent frame would have your games target (ducks, clay discs, whatever) appear in all white. The gun would detect this change from dark to light and determine if you’ve hit your target. If multiple targets are on the screen more than one “white” frame is used to determine which target has been hit. The process is mostly invisible to the eye, although, as most people remember, you can see the screen flash when the trigger is pulled (which was cool, because you were shooting a fake gun!). The Zapper truly was a milestone in gaming, but fess up… how many of you pinched off a couple of rounds at the Duck Hunt dog to blow off some steam?

BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear